Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'Luv' review: You're more likely to h8 it

*1/2 (out of four)

On a day spent offering what he perceives as a crash-course in manhood, Vincent (Chicago-native Common) expects his 11-year-old nephew, Woody (Michael Rainey Jr.), to pick up a lot in one lesson. How to crack a crab, OK. But driving? Firing a gun? Can we at least schedule a follow-up, Uncle Vince?

Actually, better to get it over with because the derivative, murky “Luv”—and its numerous, unnecessary time-stamps, as if we care if it's 7:24 a.m. or 7:25 a.m.—feels long enough at 87 minutes. Vincent mysteriously gets out of jail after serving just eight years of a 20-year sentence. Now he wants to open his own Baltimore crab restaurant (how original!) but will have to track down the necessary cash through less-than-legit means. That doesn't generate much action or urgency, though, just a watered-down story sure to be compared unfavorably to “The Wire.”

Speaking of “The Wire,” Michael K. Williams is just one familiar face underused in a small role in “Luv.” The same goes for Danny Glover, Dennis Haysbert and Meagan Good. Common (“Just Wright,” TV’s “Hell on Wheels”), meanwhile, fumbles his biggest starring role to date.

Director/co-writer Sheldon Candis clouds the situation enough to make you want to figure out what's going on but neither fully clarifies the narrative nor rewards the attention. Good intentions or not, Vincent's guidance mostly just puts his nephew in harm's way, and his journey of redemption only comes off as a guy confronting his past in poorly planned fashion.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U



Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.


Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Q&A: Chicago-native 'Luv' star Common

    Q&A: Chicago-native 'Luv' star Common

    Yes, Common has played a criminal before. But “Luv,” which offers the South Side native his largest big-screen leading role to date, isn’t exactly “Smokin’ Aces” or “Street Kings.”

  • Advice for The 606 neighbors

    Advice for The 606 neighbors

    Strangers whooshing by in view of your living room isn't a new problem in Chicago, where the CTA’s elevated tracks can provide a view of residents' balconies, backyards or even bathrooms. Ashley Marchi just moved to one such apartment.